Ben Bernall
Avalanche Center Director

Ben is the IPAC Avalanche Center director and has been working as the Avalanche Specialist for the Kootenai National Forest since 2015. His avalanche education includes Canadian AST-1 and 2 courses as well as Level 2 and 3 courses through the American Avalanche Institute.  His entry into the world of winter backcountry travel began in 1994 when he borrowed some telemark skis from a friend and made some skins out of bailing twine.  This turned into an obsession that eventually led to assisting with teaching avalanche awareness through the local SAR unit. When he is not working in the snow Ben helps manage the Trails and Recreation program in Troy, Montana. In his spare time he chases two kids and a wife around in the mountains biking, skiing, running and drinking coffee.  Ben can be reached at

Jeff Thompson

Jeff gained most of his Avalanche Education and experience in the central mountains of Colorado. After graduating from Colorado Mountain College with a Ski Area Operations degree Jeff joined Beaver Creek Ski Patrol and served as the Head of Snow Safety for many years. He has taught many Avalanche courses as well. After 20 years in CO Jeff and his family moved to northern Idaho where he took the job as the Director of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center. In the winter Jeff also spends time Ski Patrolling at Schweitzer Mountain as well and is a Avalanche Rescue dog handler. When Jeff isn't playing in the snow he can usually be found with his wife and daughter on a wild desert river, camping in the woods or enjoying some singletrack on his bike.

Kevin Davis

Kevin has been involved with the Avalanche Center since 1996 when he first began volunteering to provide pit data for the advisory.  In 2006 he became the director of the program.  Kevin’s avalanche experience has come through 20 years of backcountry skiing in Montana, Idaho, and Canada.  His formal training extends from Level 1 from the American Avalanche Institute to Level 1 from the Canadian Avalanche Association and Level 2 from the National Avalanche School and numerous professional development courses.  Kevin has been teaching Avalanche Awareness courses since 1998 and became a AAA certified instructor in 2016.  He’s happy anytime there’s snow in the mountains.  Kevin can be reached at

Liz Figgins

Liz has been assisting IPAC since 2016.  She began her backcountry ski career in Chamonix roughly 20 years ago with very limited skills, knowledge, and gear.  Thankfully she survived that winter and went on the pursue her Level 1 and Level 2 avalanche certifications through AAI while ski bumming in the Tetons for the majority of her 20s.  She has been recreating and skiing in the Inland Northwest since 2009.  She is currently an Assistant Center Manager at Kootenai Dispatch (wildland fire) and forecasts (avalanche) primarily for the Kootenai area.  She enjoys spending time in the great outdoors with her husband and 3 kids when she isn’t working.  Liz can be reached at

Mikey Church

Mikey grew up skiing across Europe as a military dependent, and continued his love of the steep and icy skiing and working various mountains in northern Vermont until he moved to Montana in 2008.  Mikey, who works in Recreation for the Lolo National Forest, began assisting IPAC with data collection in 2018.  Mikey's avalanche training consists of AAI Rec Avy 1 and 2, Rescue Fundamentals, and Profesional 1. Outside of work, Mikey can be seen chasing his 4 year old down the slopes, single track, rivers, and grocery aisles. Mikey can be contacted at